I need suggestions for good Mass settings


#21

Again, yes it is. I LIVE IT. It’s REAL.


#22

[quote="agapewolf, post:21, topic:329643"]
Again, yes it is. I LIVE IT. It's REAL.

[/quote]

It's a built-in bias and unwillingness to learn. My 5-year-old knows all four Marian antiphons and my 7-year-old knows the Missa de Angelis. My parish congregation knows a few different chant Masses in both English and Latin, and routinely sings the chants for Benediction as well as several chant hymns when we sing them at Mass.


#23

[quote="aemcpa, post:22, topic:329643"]
It's a built-in bias and unwillingness to learn. My 5-year-old knows all four Marian antiphons and my 7-year-old knows the Missa de Angelis.

[/quote]

Wow. So, my whole parish has a built in bias an unwillingness to learn. You are really blaming that? REALLY?

My parish that will sing EVERY SINGLE OTHER THING I give them? Old, new, brand new, schmalzy, traditional metered hymns, brand new mass settings that are rythmically a bit odd, because trying to get the Gloria into western meter is difficult...That parish?

It can't possibly be because you are wrong, and chant is so foreign to the western ear that it is difficult to learn.

ok. you go on believing that.


#24

[quote="agapewolf, post:23, topic:329643"]
Wow. So, my whole parish has a built in bias an unwillingness to learn. You are really blaming that? REALLY?

My parish that will sing EVERY SINGLE OTHER THING I give them? Old, new, brand new, schmalzy, traditional metered hymns, brand new mass settings that are rythmically a bit odd, because trying to get the Gloria into western meter is difficult...That parish?

It can't possibly be because you are wrong, and chant is so foreign to the western ear that it is difficult to learn.

ok. you go on believing that.

[/quote]

I edited my post.


#25

yet still kept the insulting comment. I’m keeping my response.


#26

Chant isn’t any more difficult to learn or to sing than modern, metered music, and in many ways it’s easier because it’s text-centric and flows the same way speech does. If you convince people it’s the most difficult thing they’ll ever have to learn before you start to try to teach it to them, then you’re already behind the 8-ball. I have always found that if you just sing a given chant (or hymn, or OCP garbage song) without them for a few weeks, pretty much any congregation will get the hang of it by rote within 6-8 weeks.


#27

Yes, it is anti-chant bias. In the spectrum of Catholic liturgical music that I have sung, the pop-style contemporary (1970s+) hymns are the hardest, four-part traditional hymns are the easiest, and chant is about in the middle of that. So really, anyone who sings Haugen/Haas with gusto is more than capable of understanding and singing chant very well.

You have to ask yourself why people refuse to sing. Is it because it is truly difficult? Or is it because it is unfamiliar/unpopular? At my parish, chant is unfamiliar and unpopular. I was shocked to find such a resistance to it, because our pastor and congregation is very orthodox, and our English speakers have a very high average age, so I thought that some of them would appreciate the appeal to tradition. I guess they aren’t quite old enough to love chant, but they were thoroughly immersed in the “Spirit of Vatican II” culture of folk Masses, and we had to forcibly pry our 1994 Gather Comprehensive hymnals from their clutches. We replaced those with the Lumen Christi Missal, and there was a huge outcry behind the scenes. Many parishioners were still around who had paid for the Gather, and apparently it had cost well into the five digits to equip our pews with them. Amusingly, the LCM cost one-third of that. And consider the investment made. Divide that sum by the 19 years we used Gather, and you have practically a bargain. Spending another large chunk of money on LCM, we made an investment in the future of Church music, which, God willing, will last us another 20 years or more.

Our bishop released a four-part letter on the importance of singing the Mass as the Church intends. Our pastor is gradually implementing this. Rome wasn’t built in a day. We have encountered resistance. But if the bishop thinks that this is a good idea, and he is supported in his opinions by many Church documents, then it is important that we press forward. Now is the time to change music styles, the Reform of the Reform is underway, the Roman Missal Third Edition is translated, and old Mass settings are illicit and obsolete. Why not renew your parish’s music the way the Church intends if you are going to introduce new music anyway?

But these changes should be done with catechesis. You can’t just impose a new style of music on a community and expect them to swallow it unthinkingly. Education about the whys and wherefores is essential to acceptance. If people feel they have all the information, and you’ve entered a dialogue with them, they will feel much better when changes come about.

One more great thing about chant resources as opposed to the likes of OCP and GIA and WLP: much of it is freely available or with a permissive license. The big publishing houses charge megabucks to license their music and they jealously guard their copyrights. This wasn’t the case when folk hymns first started. It was quite the reverse. But now thanks to sites like Corpus Christi Watershed and the Chant Café, there is a plethora of music that’s available free of charge. So what’s a parish with a low budget going to do? You have a choice of illegally running off copies of OCP/GIA/WLP materials and singing bad music, or you can adopt chant and sing the Mass for a low, low price. Then think about the option the Church prefers, and it’s a no-brainer.


#28

[quote="aemcpa, post:26, topic:329643"]
Chant isn't any more difficult to learn or to sing than modern, metered music, and in many ways it's easier because it's text-centric and flows the same way speech does. If you convince people it's the most difficult thing they'll ever have to learn before you start to try to teach it to them, then you're already behind the 8-ball. I have always found that if you just sing a given chant (or hymn, or OCP garbage song) without them for a few weeks, pretty much any congregation will get the hang of it by rote within 6-8 weeks.

[/quote]

Guess you really didn't read my post. Let's try this again. And stop making things up that you think I'm doing that I'm not. I didn't "convinve" anyone its difficult. I made it as easy as possible to learn.

I put the words and music out in front of the books, no page turns. Referred to it every time we sang it. We practiced it before mass, several weeks in a row. We did it for a FULL liturgical season.

They. didn't. sing.

You can keep making up excuses, accusing me of somehow turning them against it before I started, or imagining some other reason that isn't true. Stop it. Doesn't change the Actual. Reality.


#29

If they sang badly then I could understand an argument that chant is hard. But if they didn't sing at all, then there is something else at play here. Refusing to sing is a psychological crowd effect that can be hard to understand at church, but it generally either boils down to unfamiliarity or distaste. You have ruled out unfamiliarity so it must be that they simply didn't like it.

Have a look at "Why Don't Catholics Sing". Does this describe your situation at all?


#30

[quote="Elizium23, post:29, topic:329643"]
If they sang badly then I could understand an argument that chant is hard. But if they didn't sing at all, then there is something else at play here. Refusing to sing is a psychological crowd effect that can be hard to understand at church, but it generally either boils down to unfamiliarity or distaste. You have ruled out unfamiliarity so it must be that they simply didn't like it.

[/quote]

Possiblity # 3, which has been my point.

it's difficult to learn.


#31

Sorry, but it simply isn't. Even our pastor has learned various chants in the Roman Missal. This is straightforward, a cappella music with no harmonies, no accidentals, no key signatures and no chords. Neume notation is very primitive and simplistic. Anyone who can read modern notation can pick up neumes in a couple of weeks. Anyone who can't read any notation can easily learn simple chant by ear with rote memorization. The Church would not mandate something difficult. The Hallelujah Chorus is difficult - singing chant as a group is a snap. I suspect some other problem at play but your vehement denials are wearing thin.


#32

[quote="Cavaille-Coll, post:6, topic:329643"]
One of my favorite Mass settings is the basic English chants found in the new Roman Missal. They are simple to learn and help to introduce the parish to Gregorian chant as Vatican II directs.

If you have access to the St. Michael Hymnal, there are many beautiful Mass settings in English, Latin, and Spanish. One of my favorites is the Mass of St. Michael, which is actually based on Ukrainian chant tones but is metrical.

[/quote]

It's interesting to see how other parishes across the US and around the world do things all a bit nuanced. My parish is going in the other direction from chant tones. Our choir is acutually singing gospel music now. It's actually kind of nice, but different. I guess the key here is to worship and whatever keeps the flock comming in the door.


#33

[quote="Elizium23, post:31, topic:329643"]
Sorry, but it simply isn't. Even our pastor has learned various chants in the Roman Missal. This is straightforward, a cappella music with no harmonies, no accidentals, no key signatures and no chords. Neume notation is very primitive and simplistic. Anyone who can read modern notation can pick up neumes in a couple of weeks. Anyone who can't read any notation can easily learn simple chant by ear with rote memorization. The Church would not mandate something difficult. The Hallelujah Chorus is difficult - singing chant as a group is a snap. I suspect some other problem at play but your vehement denials are wearing thin.

[/quote]

and your constant insistance that I don't know my parish and the issue at hand is insulting.


#34

[quote="agapewolf, post:15, topic:329643"]
Actually, you are one step removed.

You commented in the other thread where I posted this, don't know if you saw it.

Chant is not "easy to learn" My parish sings ANYTHING I give them. Old hymns, St. Louis Jesuits, Haas, contemporary praise and worship. They sing everything.

Except chant. I even give them the music with words with easy access-- practice before mass for several weeks in a row. Nope. We did for a full season for 4 years in a row. Still didn't get it.

[/quote]

Still didn't get it? I don't understand this statement at all. When I was in parish boy's choir, we sang every funeral Mass in Latin including the Dies Irae. Easy, easy, easy. In 4 years your group should have been able to sing it. I believe there is more to the story. Perhaps they just don;t like it and refuse to sing it.


#35

[quote="Elizium23, post:18, topic:329643"]
The significant thing the new translation of the GIRM changed is the literal translation of the Latin word "cantus" to "chant" rather than "hymn". It was posited by some corners that this means the Church is showing a preference for chant over hymns, but in reality there is no change in policy reflected here, it is merely an adherence to Liturgiam Authenticam in the translation of Latin documents. The Church is still perfectly fine with the use of appropriate, approved hymns in the liturgy. While the new edition of the GIRM may make it clearer that Proper Antiphons are the preferred option, the use of hymns has emphatically not been done away with in any shape or form.

[/quote]

As the article I refer to states:In like manner, you can ignore all the clear import of the mandates here (and) pounce on the slight bit of liberality and say, hey, who's gonna stop this? And so it is when dealing with children when you step out of the house for a bit; you can give the clearest instructions possible, a comprehensive list of dos and do nots, and yet somehow they will find a way to get around the rules. All this is true.

Mr. Tucker is managing editor of Sacred Music and publishing editor of the Church Music Association of America. Therefore, I prefer to take his word when it comes to music in the Divine worship.


#36

For beginners, I cannot recommend Jubilate Deo enough. It is pretty much the essential primer for all Catholics on Gregorian chant.

agapewolf, I understand that your previous frustrations trying to teach Gregorian chant may have soured your mood towards chant, but we would like to help understand and address the problem. Perhaps you are starting on modes that are too difficult? Or perhaps there is some resistance to chant which may be understood if we look back into your congregation's history?

It is funny that you described all you did, because my parish tried much less. All they did was go through the chants prior to each mass every week, but the congregation picked it up very quickly. It did not take long before the congregation could join in easily on the Mass ordinaries. In fact, this was only part of a larger diocese-wide effort to educate the faithful on the value of chant, and that meant every parish in our diocese had a similar degree of exposure to these basic chants. When we had a mass, the sound of a thousand faithful chanting the Mass together was simply a sublime experience. It gave me goosebumps to see and hear people gathered from all over the diocese so united in worship.

This is just one of the many stories of parishes whose congregations had no previous exposure to chant (no thanks in part to liberties taken upon our musical heritage) yet pick up these simple tunes so easily with so little effort. But moving beyond pure anecdotes, we must also consider the greater bulk of clear and irrefutable evidence. Plainsong has persisted in our church for so many centuries (until the last one), overcoming division and diaspora, and it has been so easily picked up by congregations in all classes and societies. Even the uneducated and illiterate peasants of old could learn it without knowing how to read notations, let alone knowing any musical theory, so why not us?

That is why we are reluctant to accept it when a single person decides to declare that chant is simply too difficult based upon their personal assessment and deduction of a single anecdote. This is also why we are offering suggestions to understand and address the reasons why chant is not being picked up in parishes such as yours. We encourage you to continue the discussion and we shall pray and hope that this interest in chant is picked up by your congregation. :)


#37

[quote="Gelnhausener, post:35, topic:329643"]

Mr. Tucker is managing editor of Sacred Music and publishing editor of the Church Music Association of America. Therefore, I prefer to take his word when it comes to music in the Divine worship.

[/quote]

I would recommend regarding Jeffrey's example as that of the BVM, always pointing to her Son. There is much to be gained by his writings, particularly in SING LIKE A CATHOLIC. However, Tucker's advice would ultimately be to refer to the writings of Professor William Mahrt, CMAA president and editor emeritus of "Sacred Music."

But, In the title box I'm still reading "I need suggestions for good Mass settings." Don't you all feel that your postulating on the usual grist of these forums on "chant....propers....hey, this works at my place.....you can teach chant to 2nd graders (true).....nonetheless doesn't actually HELP the original poster?


#38

Nope, it doesn’t.


#39

[quote="CharlesinCenCA, post:37, topic:329643"]
I would recommend regarding Jeffrey's example as that of the BVM, always pointing to her Son. There is much to be gained by his writings, particularly in SING LIKE A CATHOLIC. However, Tucker's advice would ultimately be to refer to the writings of Professor William Mahrt, CMAA president and editor emeritus of "Sacred Music."

But, In the title box I'm still reading "I need suggestions for good Mass settings." Don't you all feel that your postulating on the usual grist of these forums on "chant....propers....hey, this works at my place.....you can teach chant to 2nd graders (true).....nonetheless doesn't actually HELP the original poster?

[/quote]

The OP asked for suggestions, and we gave them, and we even went beyond to explain the advantages behind them, but apparently giving something that isn't contemporary folk music composition "doesn't actually help". However, I'm glad to see that you haven't been postulating your own contempt and have been constructively contributing your own suggestions too... oh.

That aside, there's a reason why we consistently give the same answers again and again, just as how Ask an Apologist consistently gives the same answers to the same questions over and over again (I don't see you complaining about them). They are essentially the same reason - it's because they are part of the same deposit of tradition that has been handed down to us through the Church. It would be unwise for any Catholic choir to not least consider traditional chant before opting for contemporary compositions. :)

[quote="CatholicZ09, post:38, topic:329643"]
Nope, it doesn't.

[/quote]

We're sorry it doesn't appear to fit your requirements at the moment, but we do hope you will keep an open mind to hear the case for Tradition as well as our suggestions for helping convince your musical director. :)


#40

However, I'm glad to see that you haven't been postulating your own contempt and have been constructively contributing your own suggestions too... oh.

I'm glad you're glad, as I'm trying daily to minimize any contempuous thoughts or inclinations, and to be positive with contributions.
I would suggest two more Masses:
Mass of Charity and Love, WLP, Steve Warner. Emulant of chant in "feel" but can be realized by either organ/trad choir/cantor or ensemble based groups.
Mass of the Mediatrix, self published, Dr. Patrick O'Shea. Let me know here if you're interested in a link.


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